Rheumatoid Arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder which primarily affects the soft joints of hands and legs, causing them pain and inflammation, and then other body parts like heart, lungs, kidneys, etc. One of the most common symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis patient is Anemia, which occurs in majority. It becomes very important to diagnose and provide proper treatment. Anemia is a condition that occurs due to decrease in red blood cells (RBC) in a patient’s body. Hemoglobin is a protein found in red blood cells that helps to transport oxygen to all parts of the body. If hemoglobin falls down, it may result in some fatigue and weakness, and may also show some symptoms like shortness of breath and increase in heartbeat. Anemia in RA results in some inflammation, and this inflamed tissues secrets cytokines and other protein that suppresses the production of erythropoietin hormones. This hormone stimulates the bone marrow, and helps in production of blood cells. Due to some anti- inflammatory drugs used for RA, may cause some internal bleeding in stomach and intestine.
Comparison of Rheumatoid Arthritis and Anemia
Anemia is a common disorder, caused due to decrease in red blood cells. A person suffering from anemia does not mean that he or she is prone to Rheumatoid Arthritis. But a person suffering from RA is prone to have anemia and it may result in fatality for the patient if not treated. So treatment of anemia becomes mandatory for RA patient.
Causes of Anemia to RA patient
Chronic illness is one of the main causes of anemia in Rheumatoid Arthritis patient. The occurrence of inflammation throughout the body is another cause of anemia. These inflammation of tissues secrets some protein that prohibits the ability of a patient’s body to use iron required and production of red blood cells, leading to decrease in RBC. Some non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs and steroids which are commonly used in the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis, are another cause of developing anemia. These drugs also have some chronic effect like internal bleeding in the stomach and intestine. A patient who is suffering from both anemia and rheumatoid arthritis tends more towards fatality than patient without it, by growing serious joint and tissue damage.
RA can be treated with several drugs like non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), disease modifying rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and by some steroids like costicosteroids. Erythopoietin is a hormone which is helpful in the production of red blood cells, is generally used to treat anemia in the patients of rheumatoid arthritis. This hormone helps to stimulate the bone marrow by producing iron and by helping it to increase the number of red blood cells. A patient of anemia may also have iron therapy, if low levels of iron are found in blood. A combined treatment of iron and red blood cells, with the help of some stimulating drugs may help a patient to gain strength, decrease fatigue, and improve life quality. By providing folic acid and iron supplement may help to produce new blood cells. If there is severe loss of blood due to internal bleeding, doctors may recommend for blood transfusion. Blood transfusion is a process of infusing blood cells to a patient’s body in order to treat anemia.